E xtensionagrlite

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  • 1. The AGR-Lite Wizard:Case Study of the Value of Interactive Software Tools for Farmer and Ranchers Jeff Schahczenski, Agricultural Economist National Center for Appropriate Technology
  • 2. THE NCAT MISSIONHelping People by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources. www.ncat.org
  • 3. ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information System Need help with flame weeding? Are you ready to start selling your produce at the farmers market? Need some help with any sustainable-Ag issue? Simply call our English-language ATTRA toll-free hotline at 800-346-9140 or the Spanish- language ATTRA hotline at 800-411-3222 for expert advice. ...or use the Ask An Ag Expert tool to send us a note.
  • 4. Sustainability-Resilient Diversity“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” —Great Law of the Iroquois” – Resiliency – Diversity – Adaptable – Interdependence
  • 5. Outline• Brief overview of the problem- crop insurance-crops vs. whole farm revenue• Motivation of the project- the AGR-lite Wizard• Brief demonstration of the software tool• What we learned and what we continue to learn• Other examples• Summary 5
  • 6. Why Insure Crops and Livestock?Multiple Perils:unavoidable natural occurrencesIncluding :adverse weatherfireInsectsdiseasewildlife earthquakes,volcanic eruption 6
  • 7. Why Insure Crops and Livestock?
  • 8. Why Insure Crops?- Price Volitility 8
  • 9. Field Corn Crop Insurance
  • 10. Fresh Market Tomatoes Crop Insurance
  • 11. 11
  • 12. Important National Benefit for Agriculture• Recently predicted that the federal subsidization of crop Insurance premiums could be close to $9 Billion dollars per year through 2022.• Average premium benefit is about 62% of the cost.• In 2011 over $11 Billion paid out in losses• In 2012 could be as high as $22 Billion!
  • 13. Is Good Crop Insurance for Small Diverse Farms Possible?• “Good”- meaning reasonably priced and with effective coverage• “Good”- meaning as good as current commodity or specialty crop-based policies
  • 14. Is Whole Farm Revenue Insurance an answer?
  • 15. Why Whole Farm Revenue Insurance Adjusted Gross Revenue Lite• Crops with no Multi-Peril (Yield) or Revenue Insurance• Commodities with premium prices• Organic and specialty crops• Varietal differences in yield and price• Provides for quality losses• Livestock
  • 16. MOTIVATION of Project Several reasons given as to why the use of AGR-Lite has been so low among farmers. Some of the reasons given are:• COMPLEXITY: AGR-Lite requires farmers to have in place a fairly high-level and extensive farm and financial recordkeeping system to be able to meet application requirements .• OUTREACH: The product is still not available nationally and some farmers may simply not know that the product is available in their state.• LIMITATIONS: The level of coverage may be too low and deductibles too high to interest farmers. The effective coverage for AGR-Lite is 72% so that a 28% drop in revenue could be experienced before any coverage is provided. A 28% drop in revenue may effectively put a farmer out of business.• LIMITATIONS: Commercial crop insurance agents find writing and filling claims for AGR-Lite complicated and very time consuming causing them to not promote the product to potential costumers. 16
  • 17. AGR-Lite Wizard• CD available for PC (no Mac version) - Sept. 15th for 2013• www.agrlitewizard.com 17
  • 18. SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS HARD• ENGAGE farmers(end users)– from the start• Listen carefully to their needs (eligibility vs details)• Extensive proto-type testing– get expertise, use real farmers• NEW VERSIONS will be needed– IT overhead is real cost• Good GRAHICS really help 18
  • 19. Critical Improvements• Coverage too low- or deductable to high• Premium costs do not decline with diversity• Application process and information intensity needed to be lowered---AGR-lite Wizard helps• Whole farm revenue should be available nationwide 19
  • 20. Other Examples and Needs?• Food Safety Plan• Conservation Management Tool
  • 21. SOFTWARE can change the world 2012 Senate Farm Bill 21
  • 22. Summary• Understanding of complexity can be enhanced by user-directed software tools• User-directed software tools allow the user to choose how much and how little they want to understand complexity• Knowledge is power and it helps with farmer /government bureaucracy interaction• Understanding can help constructive democratic change 22